In an effort to encourage more students to vote, Associated Students has revamped its voting system. The paper ballots that have dominated each election are gone in lieu of online voting that has failed two times in as many semesters. In addition to voting online from any computer with Internet access, there will be four polling locations on campus.
Elections will be held on Oct. 28 beginning at 8 a.m. and will conclude the following evening at 7 p.m. Results will be automatically tabulated and known that night.
Any student can log onto http://www.csun.edu/elections and cast their vote at either Matador Square, the bookstore lawn, Arbor Court or Matador Walk.
‘We have two laptops at each of our four polling locations,’ A.S. Director of Elections, Mazen Hafez said.
When students log onto the elections website, they will sign in with their CSUN username and password. After choosing the A.S. fall elections tab and clicking start, it will prompt the student to vote for a senate representative from the respective college they major in.
‘You can’t vote for the governor of New York when you live in California,’ Hafez said. ‘If you’re majoring in geology, you can’t vote for a senate representative of business and economics.’
In addition to voting for their college’s senate representative, students will also vote for their division representative. Freshmen and sophomores can vote for their lower division representative while juniors and seniors will vote for their upper division representative.
Students who are double majors can vote for a representative in each of the colleges. Undeclared students will only be able to vote for a lower or upper division representative and an at-large candidate who represents the entire student body.
The president and vice president elections only take place during the spring semester, so students are only able to vote for senators.
After casting their ballots, students can choose to participate in an unofficial survey regarding the campus quality fee.
‘The survey is unofficial because the results aren’t binding,’ Hafez said.
Hafez included the survey as a way for A.S. to see how students feel about the fee that is added to students’ tuition.
This is the third attempt to introduce online voting. Its convenience raises a question about accuracy.
‘I don’t really know how I feel about that,’ Hafez said. ‘With paper ballots there’s no real cheating.’
Hafez references the possibility of fraudulent voting with the online format. With the paper balloting system used in last semester’s run-off race, A.S. officers can now better monitor voting.
A glitch occurred last semester when the Information Technology department did not anticipate heavy traffic. As a result, the system crashed while votes were being counted.
There was also a tie between Adam Haverstock and Alex Shahin in the A.S. presidential race against Miguel Segura and Nicole Umali. The tie eventually went in favor of Segura and Umali, but Paul Schantz, Director of Student Affairs, hopes errors like that don’t happen this time around.
‘We can test our applications by ‘ramping up’ from just one simulated user to as many as thousands of simulated users.’ Schantz said. ‘This can help us determine at which point a system will break under load.’
Over the summer, Schantz and Middleware Analyst, Brian Miller worked on the error and tested it.
‘A.S. performed at least four live tests, some during New Student Orientation, one during a clubs and organizations event and a large test in Matador Square.’ Schantz said.
With all the bugs worked out, the only problem A.S. faces in this election is how many people will vote.